Farewell article by Alex Dalmady

March 29, 2003

Excellent and somewhat sad farewell article by Alex Dalmady explaining why he decided to leave Venezuela. As usual, Alex is poignant and incisive in his analysis. To those of you who did not know him, Alex started in the 80’s what became the standard reference for the Venezuelan Capital Markets: InvestAnalysis. He was a true pioneer in a thin field that I joined some years later. By himself, Alex produced, collated, organized and published copious amounts of well researched material on the local stock market and its companies and also became somewhat of an “enfant terrible” with his criticism of many of the most important publicly traded companies in Venezuela. He had to shut down his operation when the markets made his by-subscription-newsletter, simply unviable.

Alex is a great person to talk to, he tell is like it is, analyzes things in depth and always looks at all sides of the equation. I always enjoyed meeting him and talking about Venezuela, companies, technology or stock trading in the US markets (I remember Alex telling me about E Trade well before anyone even knew what on-line trading was all about.)

Like him, his farewell is unconventional. He clearly says it is not simply Chavez that he is running away from, he feels alienated from the majority of Venezuelans, not only those that voted for Chavez, but also those that run through red lights just because cars are not coming in the other direction. Obviously, the deterioration in the field of investment plays a role in his decision, but also the way the country is run. In one of my favorite sentences of the article he says : “The problems of Venezuelan macroeconomics is one of Algebra, not of differential equations. Less theory and more back of the envelope calculations”

Alex also talks about the varied reaction from people when he tells them he is leaving. I respect his decision, simply put, that is why I believe in free markets. At the end of the day, economic agents, whether large corporations or inviduals like Alex, make whatever decision they think is best for them and only them. To me, that is what drives the world and markets and is at the heart of economic behavior. Good luck to Alex! I truly believe that in the end, one only regrets those things that one did not do!

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